ProfCert Women and Substance Use

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 10)

Problematic substance use continues to be a major social issue within society, with increases in consumption and use of drugs, increases in drug related deaths and increases in dependency on existing and emerging substances.  International and national drug policy is also heavily contested, with pressure to develop harm reduction based policy rather than the more punitive and abstinence based approach.  This course will explore current and emerging issues in relation to women and substance use, within the Irish and international context.

This course is delivered online, so it is very well suited to professionals as part of continuing professional development. It is run in partnership with Urrus, the Ballymun Youth Action Project.

Increasingly issues in relation to women’s substance use, have emerged especially in relation to trauma histories, domestic violence, maternal roles and impact on family, children, yet there has been little educational response to develop practitioner and policy maker knowledge, awareness and skills to address these issues effectively. 


Women’s problematic substance use is explored in the context of the inter-related and sometimes unique factors that may impact on women’s substance use trajectories, with a particular focus on effective intervention, and innovation in practice and policy responses.  The role and impact of intimate partner violence, sex working, trauma histories and pregnancy and mothering on women’s substance use are considered and explored.  The development and provision of innovative responses and interventions are presented, together with the implications for drug and social policy.

Careers & Employability

This Professional Certificate should offer career enhancement by developing students’ knowledge and expertise in regard to the complex health and social issues that surround women and substance use.

Curricular information is subject to change

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

This course has been designed for those working or seeking to work within the fields of substance use intervention, social care, social work nursing, health and related field who wish to deepen their knowledge and expertise in relation to this complex social issue. This programme provides key workers, social care workers, addiction counsellors and those in related policy and health fields with the knowledge and expertise to respond to the complexity of women and substance use. A Bachelors Honours qualification (NFQ Level 8) in a relevant area is a requirement of the programme.

The Community Drugs Programme within the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, has a long standing history of delivering undergraduate and graduate education to a range of students.  This programme has been designed and is delivered in partnership with Urrus, Ballymun Youth Action Project and aims to build on students’ existing knowledge, interest and expertise in order to support their ability to critically consider, engage and address the complex issues surrounding women and substance use.  


The programme draws on a range of expertise in relation to policy, theory and intervention and seeks to include and integrate lessons and understanding from  relevant community agencies, as well as emerging research and evidence.  This approach aims to both ensure content relevance to a range of professional fields, and utilize this breadth of expertise within the learning environment through tasks that allow for collaboration and discussion between students. 


This programme is provided online to promote accessibility and flexibility within the learning environment.  Online tutorials are combined with recorded lectures and tailored tasks and exercises to engage students and develop in-depth critical analysis.  Students are encouraged to utilise their own lived and work experience, as well as collaborate with others in generating ideas and discussing concepts, theory and intervention.  

ProfCert Women and Substance Use (W402) Part Time
EU          fee per year - € 1055
nonEU    fee per year - € 2215

***Fees are subject to change
Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website

The following entry routes are available:

Professional Certificate Women and Substance Use PT (W402)
4 Months
Part Time